RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh police Chief Estella Patterson plans to increase community policing city-wide.
“The key thing for me is making sure every one of our police officers are community officers,” Patterson said Sunday. ”That they’re embedded, that they’re out learning the community, members of the community, doing everything they can to build that trust and legitimacy within our community.”
The initiative is one part of her four-step action plan to increase unity and rebuild trust between officers and Raleigh residents.
She unveiled the plan at the inaugural Law Enforcement Day of Unity at Tupper Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday.
“The events of 2020, with the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, exposed the fragmentation and rifts between police and community,” she said of how officer-involved deaths across the country have caused division. “We all saw up close and personal the need for reform and for realignment.”
She added, “It’s important to me that when you see a police officer, you feel very comfortable approaching that individual and talking with them without fear of being profiled, without fear of being accused of wrongdoing.”
Along with making every officer a community officer, Patterson said her plan also includes working with “spiritual infrastructure.”
She explained: “I mean the many congregations, the youth groups, the outreach committee and interfaith alliances who are committed to prayer and laboring in love in our neighborhoods.”
She also wants to increase police visibility in communities.
“We should not be there just trying to find a reason to lock somebody up or to incarcerate somebody just because they look suspicious.”
The final step of her plan is to admit when mistakes are made.
“As your chief, I will own the mistakes of my officers and my department and I’m asking you to do the same in the community,” she said.
She added, “I know I have to keep it real to gain your trust and support.”
Chief Patterson didn’t provide a timeline for the plan, but told CBS 17 it’s already being implemented.